Open Access


Open Access Policy FAQ


What is a university open access policy?

A university open access policy provides an obligation for faculty publishing journal articles to participate in archiving a version of their article in an open access repository. The repository should provide free and unrestricted access to those downloading the article. A university open access policy should also provide a waiver for faculty members who are unable to secure copyright permissions for open access deposit. The goal of an open access policy is to try and provide the research created at the university widely while also not limiting publishing opportunities and academic freedom for the researcher.


What does it mean for faculty?

The benefits to faculty members could include increased citations as well as easy ways to share their research with colleagues. All the research added to the repository is open and free for anybody to download. Therefore, faculty members will be able to share their work, legally, with anybody.


What type of policy would the USF Libraries be recommending as a model?

I would recommend that USF adopt a policy based off the Harvard open access policy. Please see the Harvard OA Policy and an Annotated model policy for examples of the policy.


What are some examples we could study?


What has been the timeframe at other universities?

One of the first things I would recommend to look at is the FSU Open access policy FAQ: Though this does not give a full timeframe, it does provide some important information about the policy. In terms of the voting timeframe, that happened within a month. Additionally, FSU is still working on implementing aspects of their policy: Implementation Plan


Will the publisher reject my article if we have this policy?

No. There are many institutions that have open access policies. Most journals allow the author to submit their post-print article to an institutional repository if mandated by the institution. Here is an example of the kind of restrictions an author might encounter (example is from Chemical Reviews (ISSN: 0009-2665, ESSN: 1520-6890)):

  • If mandated by funding agency or employer/ institution
  • If mandated to deposit before 12 months, must obtain waiver from Institution/Funding agency or use AuthorChoice

It should be noted, and emphasized, that a policy such as this includes a waiver option. This is designed to provide faculty members with the same publishing opportunities that they are used to. An open access policy is designed to use already existing standards in scholarly communication (ie. archiving versions of published papers) in order to leverage open access of information. An open access policy will not prevent academic freedom for researchers in where they choose to publish.


Will publishers discriminate against me because I come from an OA institution?

No. The publisher may ask that you receive a waiver from the university, but they won't discriminate against you.


With OA, I can't make royalties on my article, correct?

First there should be some explanation on OA, what it is, and how it pertains to an open access mandate. Open access simply means that an article or research is made available to readers without restriction. By it's very definition it does not necessarily mean that research has to be published in a completely open access journal. Articles can be published in more traditional journals and still be made open access. This is accomplished by depositing a version of the article (in most cases it is the version after peer-review but before the version that the publisher releases) in an institutional repository. An open access policy is designed to try and make research freely available but not at the cost of monetary gain or compromising research integrity and freedom.

To the extent that a researcher is making royalties on their article, the OA mandate would not take that away. They could always publish in their normal venues and, if available, provide the post-print of their article to the institutional repository. Additionally, there is always the option of obtaining a waiver.


What will be the impact on my promotion for tenure in an OA institution?

If there is an impact, it will more than likely only be positive. The reason is that the researcher shouldn't have to change where they publish. One will publish in the same journals that they normally do, only now they will send a version of their article over to the library to be put on a university website. More people may read your article and cite it.


What does the word "license" mean in the context of the policy?

A license is the legal right to do something that you would not otherwise be permitted to do.


What about copyright?

The license doesn't change who owns the copyright. If the researcher owns the copyright and they are granting USF a license to post their material on a website (in this case an institutional repository) then the researcher still owns the copyright. The same holds true if the publisher owns the copyright and they allow the posting of material, the publisher would still own the copyright.